Tag Archive | "retention"

Seven Tips for Becoming a Better Boss


Is better hiring and retention high on your to-do list this year? Many people need to do more with less nowadays. A great way to start is with better management and more effective workers.

It’s easy to see why companies would want to start building a great workplace. Where to begin can be more difficult to discern. This lack of clarity makes it tough to take focused actions that move a company forward. In some cases, it can even discourage leader if the scope and breadth seems too large to overcome.

If you’re among those aspiring to build a better workplace, even a great one, here are seven tips from the leaders of companies recognized in this year’s annual Best Small Workplaces list.

  1. Begin with yourself. “In order to build a great workplace, you must first build yourself by gaining a deep understanding of your strengths and weaknesses as a leader, and you must completely commit to developing yourself into the best leader and person you can be. At the same time, you must hire outstanding people who are as committed as you are to build a great workplace.” – Robert Pasin, Chief Wagon Officer, Radio Flyer
  2. Flip the traditional management dynamic. “Treat every employee as a colleague, and turn the management structure upside-down. If you are hiring well, then the management of the company is there to support the talent and aspirations of your employees, and not the reverse.” – John Saaty, CEO, Decision Lens
  3. Hire the best. “Hire people smarter than you. This is the best advice my father gave me when I was starting my business, and I believe it holds true today. In today’s competitive environment, your time at work will be easier and more pleasant if you are surrounded by smart people– those who share your values, mission, and vision and like to have FUN! Talented employees will help your business to grow, and create a great place to work. Customers value knowledgeable employees — the smarter your new hires are, the better off your business will be in the end.” — Lauren Dixon, CEO, Dixon Schwabl
  4. See employees as whole people. “Every employee has things in their life more important than work. If you fail to realize that, there will be a fundamental disconnect in your relationship with that employee. Realize it and embrace it, and you will be on the way to a mutually beneficial relationship. ” – Tim Storm, CEO & Founder, FatWallet
  5. Use positive, constructive motivation. “It’s said that eight out of 10 people come to work in the morning wanting to make a difference, but by lunch it’s down to four. That’s usually a result of the environment more than anything, not just the physical but the interpersonal. Lead your employees with a clear vision, support them with adequate resources, and possibly most important – reward them for treating others with respect. Motivate everyone in a positive, constructive way, and your biggest problem will be having to build more office space sooner than you thought!” – Tim Hohmann, CEO, AutomationDirect
  6. Practice accountability to your values. “Hold everyone accountable to your core beliefs and values, including you. No ‘license to kill’ is allowed no matter how much money someone brings into your business. Otherwise, a double standard develops which will derail the creation of a great workplace.” – Jim Rasche, 3EO, Kahler Slater
  7. Start now. “Don’t wait till you get bigger to put in place key items, such as staff surveys, peer interviewing for hiring and clear standards of behavior [developed by staff].” – Quint Studer, CEO and founder, Studer Group

This article was written by Marcus Erb and published in Entrepreneur magazine.

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Repeat Customers Increase Close Rates, Decrease Dealer Expenses


Wouldn’t it be great to have a solid previous customer base about now? Wouldn’t it be great if all of those customers you’ve sold to in the past who are ready to trade today would come back in to see you? Your lot would be filled with traffic, and the best part, repeat customer traffic closes at 70 percent – with gross profits 40 percent higher than your typical walk-in prospects.

It gets even better because you have almost no expense in generating these extra sales and the higher gross profit on each of these types of sales. Repeat customers pay you more because they already know, like and trust that you’re a good dealership to purchase from. Plus, your expense drops from the $500 or so per sale range in advertising and other expenses to just $25 to $50 per unit from a continuous follow-up and retention process.

With retention, you sell more units and raise the gross on each one, with no added expense. To see that in numbers instead of words, let’s take a look at the typical 100-unit dealership with $2,500 gross front and back that is spending $40,000 to $50,000 on advertising (or more in today’s market).

The breakdown of the typical dealership’s sales is 70 percent from high-expense, low-gross, tough-to-close walk-in traffic, while only 30 percent of its business comes from low-expense, high-gross, easy-to-close repeat, referral and dealership customers (service, parts and employees).

Now: 100 units x $2,500 = $250,000 in gross profit

If you are typical and if this is your 100-unit dealership, you end up with a $2,500 average per unit because 70 percent of sales (70) come in at $2,232 per unit and only 30 of your sales come in 40 percent higher at $3,125 per unit:

  • $156,250 (70%) from walk-ins (low gross)
  • + $93,750 (30%) from repeat customers (high gross)
  • = $250,000
  • ÷ 100 units
  • $2,500 average

Now, let’s go back and look at the difference retention would have made if that had been your focus instead of spending your money and time trying to draw a crowd of tough-to-close price shoppers.

If you had been focusing on building your repeat business over the years instead of advertising, and were now doing 70 percent of your sales from higher gross customers and only 30 percent from walk-ins, the numbers would look more like this instead:

  • 70 repeat units @ $3,125.00 = $218,750
  • 30 walk-in units @ $2,232.14 = $66,964
  • Total Gross = $285,714

“Good Gross” is gross you generate without spending extra money to generate the sale or the gross. Because there are no other expenses, good gross sends all but sales and management compensation (about 40 percent) straight to the bottom line.

So at $285,714, because you didn’t have to spend any more money to generate that extra $35,714, about 60 percent would become bottom line net profit. That’s $21,428 to the net.

And that’s just the first benefit; the second is the money you’ll save because the cost-per-sale drops from $500 per unit in ads, etc. to $50 per unit to retain those customers. That means you save $450 per unit on 40 additional repeat sales for another $18,000, which is 100 percent bottom-line savings (pure profit).

$39,428 Extra Net Profit per Month with No New Expense

A common question is whether those repeat customers will still come in if the market has changed. The answer is: absolutely! Even if buying cycles lengthen, someone in your repeat customer base…

  • Is paying too much in maintenance and needs a car now.
  • Needs a car now for his high school/college kids.
  • Just wrecked her vehicle yesterday and needs a car now.
  • Has to trade now because his lease is expiring this month.
  • Just wants a vehicle and can afford to get one now.

Even if you didn’t increase volume by a single unit, if you focus 95 percent of your attention on retaining your customers, you’d still be netting an extra $39,248 per month ($473,136 per year). Unfortunately, instead of learning how to manage consistent growth year after year, most dealers and managers focus on filling their lots with expensive, hard-to-close, low-gross, walk-in, price shoppers.

Oops, we have a problem: you can’t manage what you don’t monitor. Too often there’s no tracking in most dealerships to give you the breakdown of floor traffic (opportunities) by type of customer (walk-in, repeat, referral, be-back, service customers, phone and Internet).

Why does it matter? Because if every dealership just tracked their sales and gross by each group, they’d immediately realize that walk-in traffic is their worst source of business, and all of the other groups are their best sources of business.

If they don’t track and don’t understand these differences, they have no goal on increasing their business to their least expensive, easiest to close, most profitable sources of business who will continue to buy in any type of market.

My book, A Dealer’s Guide to Recovery and Growth in Today’s Market, provides ways to add extra units by improving salespeople’s selling skills. Real dealerships are featured that have experienced

  • Unit sales increases
  • Gross increases
  • Four times as many be-backs
  • Dozens of extra sales through phone and Internet appointments, prospecting, retention

These dealerships have improved their businesses while many others are just hanging on or closing their doors.

You can grow any time you want to! But you can’t grow at all if you aren’t willing to make changes to how you manage and how you sell.

A Dealer’s Guide to Recovery and Growth in Today’s Market is free and includes much more information than I can cover here. I can’t imagine why anyone who relies on sales for a paycheck would put off thumbing through or reading a free book on how to improve their sales and profits 20 percent to 30 percent overnight.

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